United waiving change fees on previously booked tickets
United has just announced that they’re waiving change fees for all tickets issued before March 2, 2020, for travel between March 9 and April 30, 2020.
Customers who will benefit from this policy can rebook for travel through December 31, 2020, or within 12 months of the original date of ticket issue, whichever is earlier.
How United’s previous waived change fee policy worked
Prior to this announcement, US carriers have been using waived change fees as a sales technique. They’ve only applied this on newly booked tickets as a way of boosting bookings, rather than applying it to those with previously issued tickets.
Arguably those with previously booked tickets need the help most, given that many of them are traveling right now, and dealing with a lot of uncertainty. But of course being kind to those who already purchased tickets doesn’t do much for airlines, as they see it…
In the case of United, they’ve been waiving change fees for all tickets booked between March 3 and March 31, 2020. This has applied to all fare types, and has allowed customers to rebook on other flights within 12 months.
With this new policy even tickets booked before March 3 are covered, assuming you travel by April 30, 2020 (though I imagine that date has the potential to be extended, assuming Delta extends it).
I of course understand airlines are being hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, but sometimes you just have to do the right thing and take care of customers.
I’m happy to see that United is following Delta here and introducing this policy. It still doesn’t make up for their outrageous, punitive, new schedule change policy (the airline has backtracked on this slightly).
Still, this is good for consumers, and is the right policy.